Singing to La Madera
The La Madera Canyon Overlook is a drive I've been wanting to make for quite a while - today, we did it!
We left Albuquerque at noon, and headed East on I-40. We turned off to follow Route 66, and caught a bit of the Singing Highway!* I kept humming America the Beautiful through Tijeras, and up Highway 14. The turn off to 536 at San Antonito is well marked (Sandia Ski Area!), and the road itself is great! Even with my height issues, I drove it without a twinge - lots of curves, but wide (clear bike lanes on both sides), smooth, slow, and plenty of shoulder and turnouts.
We pulled into a couple to stretch our legs,
and got to the Balsa Glade Picnic Area** about 1:00. It turns out that the El Madera overlook is at the end of an easy 1/3 mile trail from the picnic grounds! We enjoyed our lunch in the brisk air and dappled sun at 8750 feet, then took to the trail
* Singing Highway Details:
- the road only sings eastbound
- take exit 170 toward Tijeras, and follow 333/66 East
- there is an easy-to-miss blue sign telling you to maintain 45 mph to hear the song (Set your cruise control immediately!)
- it is only along the right edge of the road, and a bit difficult to keep your tires exactly on it
- it is a very short stretch of road, and difficult to return to
- how's it work? See this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_road
- the blue dot shows where we stopped after the song was done
** Balsam Glade Picnic area:
- $3.00 parking fee (probably but not certainly good for all the other areas along this road) per day - bring cash or a check, put it in the envelope, fill out your car info, deposit part of the form in the box and display the other in your car.
- no running water; bring your own
- picnic tables and BBQ stands
- pit toilets; bring your own soap, wash water, purelle, etc
- flat, smooth, wide trail; a determined person in a wheelchair could make it to the overlook